Kiwis Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor will be staying at home during the league World Cup. And so will I, because of their exclusion.

I understand the pressures on the Kiwis over this. But the futility of their expulsion, this hitching up to the stupid war on drugs, means I don't want to be represented by this Kiwis squad.

The squad is named this week, and coach David Kidwell has confirmed former captain Bromwich and fellow forward Proctor are banned.

Reinstate them is my belated call, no matter how hard the u-turn might be.


What did Bromwich and Proctor apparently do?

They "dabbled in drugs" as one paper put the "scandal". What the players didn't do is harm anyone else. They were not even charged with anything, for goodness sake. For that, they get kicked out of a World Cup.

Firstly, to the two players, I say this: Walk tall Jesse and Kevin, be proud, do not be ashamed even if you felt obliged to feel some pointless shame.

Nothing positive is being achieved by this outrageous hypocrisy, as sport slavishly supports stupid laws while it sells sugar, gambling and anything else it can dabble in whether harmful or not.

"Don't forget to gamble responsibly," the honest-faced spruiker concludes on TV before a game, even though for some the only way to gamble responsibly is to not gamble at all.

"Don't forget to not gamble at all if you are an addict" doesn't sound right though, when you've just given the first-try odds like it is a helpful public service announcement.

I've written a few columns over the years around addiction, arguing against drug prohibition, trying to point out all the misery and damage the law is causing.

In essence, when it comes to addiction, there is no difference between drugs, booze, sex, exercise or work.

Many people can do some of the above, even all of the above, in a relatively healthy way. And if they want to do them to "excess", well that's their business so long as others aren't harmed. It's called human rights.

However, a small although significant portion of society does suffer from addiction, and unfortunately the people around them get to suffer as well.

The thing about addiction is that it exists in the person, not the substance. In other words, addiction is primarily a health issue, so should not be primarily a legal and moral one. While addicts can do anti-social things, the base cause is genetic.

Addiction is a genetically-based condition, shaped by environment. As to why some people are alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, over-eaters, hooked on exercise, or even over-workers - who really knows? But they are all basically one and the same thing, in different forms. Where you find addiction, you will also discover its cohort - depression.

It's all about how the brain fires. Addicts do not set out to harm anyone else, or society. Essentially, they just want to feel better.

My previous columns about the futility and dangers of prohibition have provoked many interesting/strident emails to this desk, from many points of view.

By far the most memorable was from a judge who believed that the current laws were harmful. This judge did not have the "courage" to state this publicly though, showing how the illegal status of drugs hurts proper debate.

But we need to talk about this in a way far beyond silly sports bans. We're humans, not infallible robots.

Society will eventually see sense. We are spending ridiculous amounts of money locking up sick people who then emerge from jail in an even worse state. (Professionals estimate that more than 80 per cent of the prison population has substance abuse issues).

Meanwhile pharmaceutical corporations, aided by the medical profession, make more money out of promoting unhealthy drug use than gangs could ever dream of.

Proctor and Bromwich were stupid, no doubt about it. They were asking for trouble, partying late and publicly possessing an illegal substance after a test match.

But this does not make them bad people, and banning them simply reinforces the idea that if you have a problem with drugs then best keep it quiet for fear of the consequences.

It was a tough position for the Kiwis and their new coach Kidwell. But league lost a chance to do something powerful, meaningful and compassionate.